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coupled with a most magnanimous pecuniary offer. It is the letter promised in a previous chapter, and makes John an intimate acquaintance of the reader:
" but in a very
DEAR JOHNSTON, Your request for eighty dollars, I do not think it best to comply with now. At the various times when I have helped you a little, you have said to me, “ We can get along very well now; short time I find you in the same difficulty again. Now, this can only happen by some defect in your conduct. What that defect is, I think I know. You are not lazy, and still you are an idler. I doubt whether, since I saw you, you have done a good whole day's work in any one day. You do not very much dislike to work, and still you do not work much, merely because it does not seem to you that you could get much for it. This habit of uselessly wasting time is the whole difficulty; and it is vastly important to you, and still more so to your children, that you should break the habit. It is more important to them, because they have longer to live, and can keep out of an idle habit before they are in it easier than they can get out after they are in.
You are now in need of some money ; and what I propose is, that you shall
to work, “ tooth and nail,” for somebody who will give you money for it. Let father and your boys take charge of things at home, prepare for a crop, and make the crop, and you go to work for the best money-wages, or in discharge of any debt you owe, that you can get; and, to secure you a fair reward for your labor, I now promise you, that, for every dollar you will, between this and the first of next May, get for your own labor, either in money or as your own indebtedness, I will then give you one other dollar. By this, if you hire yourself at ten dollars a month, from me you will get ten more, making twenty dollars a month for your work. In this I do not mean you shall go off to St. Louis, or the lead-mines, or the gold-mines in California; but I mean for
but I mean for you to go at it for the best wages you can get close to home, in Cole's County. * Now, if you will do this, you will be soon out of debt, and, what is better, you will have a habit that will keep you from getting in debt again. But, if I should now clear you out of debt, next year you would be just as deep in as ever. You say you would almost give your place in heaven for $70 or $80. Then you value your place in heaven very cheap; for I am sure you can, with the offer I make, get the seventy or eighty dollars for four or five months' work. You say, if I will furnish you
money, you will deed me the land, and, if you don't pay the money back, you will deliver possession. Nonsense! If you can't now live with the land, how will you then live without it? You have always been kind to me, and I do not mean to be unkind to you. On the contrary, if you will but follow my advice, you will find it worth more than eighty times eighty dollars to you.
Affectionately your brother,
Again he wrote:
SHELBYVILLE, Nov. 4, 1851. DEAR BROTHER, — When I came into Charleston day before yesterday, I learned that you are anxious to sell the land where you live, and move to Missouri. I have been thinking of this ever since, and cannot but think such a notion is utterly foolish. What can you do in Missouri better than here? Is the land any richer ? Can you there, any more than here, raise corn and wheat and oats without work? Will anybody there, any more than here, do your work for you? If you intend to go to work, there is no better place than right where you are : if you do not intend to go to work, you cannot get along anywhere. Squirming and crawling about from place to place can do no good. You have raised no crop this year; and what you really want is to sell the land, get the money, and spend it. Part with the land you have, and, my life upon it, you will never after own a spot big enough to bury, you in. Half you will get for the land you will spend in moving to Missouri, and the other half you will eat and drink and wear out, and no foot of land will be bought. Now, I feel it is my duty to have no hand in such a piece of foolery. I feel that it is so even on your own account, and particularly on mother's account. The eastern forty acres I intend to keep for mother while she lives : if you will not cultivate it, it will rent for enough to support her; at least, it will rent for something. Her dower in the other two forties she can let you have, and no thanks to me. Now, do not misunderstand this letter: I do not write it in any unkindness. I write it in order, if possible, to get you to face the truth, which truth is, you are destitute because you have idled away all your time. Your thousand pretences for not getting along better are all nonsense : they deceive nobody but yourself. Go to work is the only cure for your case.
A word to mother. Chapman tells me he wants you to go and live with him. If I were you, I would try it a while. If you get tired of it (as I think you will not), you can return to your own home.' Chapman feels very kindly to you; and I have no doubt he will make your situation very pleasant.
Sincerely your son,
And again :
SHELBYVILLE, Nóv. 9, 1851. DEAR BROTHER, When I wrote you before, I had not received your letter. I still think as I did ; but if the land can be sold so that I get three hundred dollars to put to interest for mother, I will not object, if she does not. But, before I will make a deed, the money must be had, or secured beyond all doubt, at ten per cent.
As to Abram, I do not want him, on my own account ; but I understand he wants to live with me, so that he can go to school, and get a fair
start in the world, which I very much wish him to have. When I reach home, if I can make it convenient to take, I will take him, provided there is no mistake between us as to the object and terms of my taking him.
In haste as ever,
On the 1st of July, 1852, Mr. Lincoln was chosen by a public meeting of his fellow-citizens at Springfield to deliver in their hearing a eulogy upon the life and character of Henry Clay; and on the 16th of the same month he complied with their request. Such addresses are usually called orations; but this one scarcely deserved the name. He made no effort to be eloquent, and in no part of it was he more than ordinarily animated. It is true that he bestowed great praise upon Mr. Clay ; but it was bestowed in cold phrases and a tame style, wholly unlike the bulk of his previous compositions. In truth, Mr. Lincoln was never so devoted a follower of Mr. Clay as some of his biographers have represented him. He was for another man in 1836, most probably for another in 1840, and very ardently for another in 1848. Dr. Holland credits him with a visit to Mr. Clay at Ashland, and an interview which effectually cooled his ardor in behalf of the brilliant statesman. But, in fact, Mr. Lincoln never troubled himself to make such a pilgrimage to see or hear any man, — much less Mr. Clay. None of his friends - Judge Davis, Mr. Herndon, Mr. Speed, or any one else, so far as we are able to ascertain ever heard of the visit. If it had been made at any time after 1838, it could scarcely have been concealed from Mr. Speed ; and we are compelled to place it along with the multitude of groundless stories which have found currency with Mr. Lincoln's biographers.
If the address upon Clay is of any historical value at all, it is because it discloses Mr. Lincoln's unreserved agreement with Mr. Clay in his opinions concerning slavery and the proper method of extinguishing it. They both favored gradual emancipation by the voluntary action of the people of the Slave States, and the transportation of the whole negro population to Africa as rapidly as they should be freed from service to their masters : it was a favorite scheme with Mr. Lincoln then, as it was long after he became President of the United States. “ Compensated” and “ voluntary emancipation," on the one hand, and “ colonization ” of the freedmen on the other, were essential parts of every "plan" which sprung out of his own individual mind. On this occasion, after quoting Mr. Clay, he said, “ This suggestion of the possible ultimate redemption of the African race and African continent was made twenty-five years ago. Every succeeding year has added strength to the hope of its realization. May it indeed be realized ! Pharaoh's country was cursed with plagues, and his hosts were drowned in the Red Sea, for striving to retain a captive people who had already served them more than four hundred years. May like disasters never befall us! If, as the friends of colonization hope, the present and coming generations of our countrymen shall by any means succeed in freeing our land from the dangerous presence of slavery, and at the same time restoring a captive people to their long-lost fatherland, with bright prospects for the future, and this, too, so gradually that neither races nor individuals shall have suffered by the change, it will indeed be a glorious consummation. And if to such a consummation the efforts of Mr. Clay shall have contributed, it will be what he most ardently wished; and none of his labors will have been more valuable to his country and his kind."
During the campaign of 1852, Judge Douglas took the stump for Pierce “in twenty-eight States out of the thirtyone.” His first speech was at Richmond, Va. It was published extensively throughout the Union, and especially in Illinois. Mr. Lincoln felt an ardent desire to answer it, and, according to his own account, got the "permission " of the “ Scott Club” of Springfield to make the speech under its auspices. It was a very poor effort. If it was distinguished by one quality above another, it was by its attempts at humor; and all those attempts were strained and affected, as well as very coarse. He displayed a jealous and petulant temper from the first sentence to the last, wholly beneath the dignity of the occasion and the importance of the topic. Considered as a whole, it may be said that none of his public performances was more unworthy of its really noble authoi than this one.
The reader has doubtless observed in the course of this narrative, as he will in the future, that Mr. Douglas's great success in obtaining place and distinction was a standing offence to Mr. Lincoln's self-love and individual ambition. He was intensely jealous of him, and longed to pull him down, or outstrip him in the race for popular favor, which they united in considering “ the chief end of man." Some of the first sentences of this speech before the “Scott Club" betray this feeling in a most unmistakable and painful manner. “ This speech (that of Mr. Douglas at Richmond] has been published with high commendations in at least one of the Democratic papers in this state, and I suppose it has been and will be in most of the others. When I first saw it and read it, I was reminded of old times, when Judge Douglas was not so much greater man than all the rest of us, as he is now, -- of the Harrison campaign twelve years ago, when I used to hear and try to answer many of his speeches; and believing that the Richmond speech, though marked with the same species of shirks and quirks' as the old ones, was not marked with any greater ability, I was seized with a strange inclination to attempt an answer to it; and this inclination it was that prompted me to seek the privilege of addressing you on this occasion.”
In the progress of his remarks, Mr. Lincoln emphatically indorsed Mr. Douglas's great speech at Chicago in 1850, in defence of the compromise measures, which Mr. Lincoln pronounced the work of no party, but which, " for praise or blame," belonged to Whigs and Democrats alike. The rest of the address was devoted to a humorous critique upon Mr. Douglas's language in the Richmond speech, to ridicule of the campaign biographies of Pierce, to a description of Gens. Shields and Pierce wallowing in the ditch in the midst of a battle, and to a most remarkable account of a militia muster which might have been seen at Springfield